According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users in the US to experience a rise in fatalities in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths. According to NHTSA, on average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic accidents.
A pedestrian is any individual on foot, walking, running, hiking, sitting, or lying down who is involved in a motor vehicle accident. California law states that drivers of vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing roadways within any marked crosswalks or within any unmarked crosswalks at intersections. However, pedestrians are responsible for using due care for their own safety. A pedestrian cannot suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. Additionally, pedestrians should not stop unnecessarily or delay traffic while in marked or unmarked crosswalks.
Pedestrian accidents raise unique legal issues and may involve walkers or joggers who are hit by vehicles in crosswalks, sideswiped by vehicles, struck while in parking lots or while exiting buses. All too often, drivers are inattentive to the presence of pedestrians wherein accidents occur, often resulting in pedestrians receiving serious injuries.
We all too often read about pedestrians being struck by vehicles in California. Since pedestrians are not protected by safety gear against encounters with vehicles, all too often pedestrian accidents result in devastating injuries and death. NHTSA tells us that over two-thirds of pedestrians killed are males. The rate of injuries sustained by male pedestrians is also higher than that for females. And, older pedestrians aged 65+ make up nearly 20 percent of all pedestrians killed.
San Francisco Pedestrian Accidents
The greatest number of pedestrian accidents in California occur in the Bay Area cities with the highest populations such as San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland. Many people tend to walk or take public transit in these densely-populated cities which puts pedestrians at greater risk for being involved in accidents with vehicles.
In many San Francisco pedestrian accidents, the drivers of the vehicles try to blame the pedestrians, claiming the pedestrians’ negligence was the cause. That is why it’s important to seek the help of a San Francisco accident attorney if you’ve been hit by a vehicle while crossing a street. Your attorney will work hard to unveil the truth surrounding what has happened so that you receive the compensation you both need and deserve.
What You Should Do If You’re a Victim of a Pedestrian Accident
If you are a victim of a vehicle-pedestrian accident or if you witness a pedestrian accident injury, there are a few key things you should do including:
- Seek the necessary medical attention needed and have an ambulance dispatched to the scene if needed
- Insist that a report be filed with the police
- Obtain the contact information, insurance and license place numbers of everyone involved
- Gather witness accounts
- Take photographic evidence
- Contact a California personal injury attorney
- Do not provide statements to an insurance representative
- Do not sign anything until speaking with an attorney
Why People Get Hit: Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Every day in the state of California, pedestrians are involved in accidents with vehicles. Most of us walk as part of our everyday lives. Concerning pedestrians, some walk for pleasure, some walk for health reasons and others walk out of necessity. A pedestrian accident may occur due to a pedestrian falling on a cracked walkway or a pedestrian could be struck by a moving vehicle while crossing a roadway at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. There are many things that can cause pedestrian accidents including:
Driver distraction – A driver who is not paying attention to the road can very easily strike and injure or kill a pedestrian or several pedestrians. With so many people using cell phones whenever they are out and about, driver inattentiveness is becoming a very big problem in traffic.
Drivers losing control of their vehicles – A driver can lose control of his/her vehicle in any number of ways including driving in excess of the posted speed limit, making fast lane changes or due to poor weather conditions such as fog or rain.
Drivers disobeying traffic signals – A motor vehicle operator who disobeys traffic signals is putting others at risk for injury or death including other drivers and pedestrians.
Drivers failing to use their lights – When a driver fails to use his headlights when it’s dark or when weather conditions dictate that driving with lights is necessary such as during a rainstorm or during heavy fog, horrible accidents can take place wherein other motorists and pedestrians are injured or killed.
Aggressive driving – Driving aggressively in heavily populated areas is a disaster in waiting. A driver who exhibits aggressive behavior behind the wheel in an intersection populated with pedestrians can easily strike and injure or kill innocent people.
Driving under the influence – Many pedestrian accidents are caused by drivers operating vehicles with blood alcohol content over the legal limit or after taking drugs.
Types of Injuries Suffered in Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle can suffer a wide range of injuries from non-serious bumps and bruises to life-altering injuries. Some of the most common injuries suffered in these types of accidents include contusions, lacerations and concussions. Many people who are struck by vehicles while walking suffer from more serious injuries including:
Broken bones – Many victims of pedestrian accidents suffer broken bones which most often involve the legs. Other bones which are commonly broken when pedestrians are struck by vehicles include arms, ribs and fingers. It is a common misconception that a broken bone is a minor injury as many broken bones require surgery to repair. In the most serious bone fractures wherein the bone splinters, it’s often necessary to insert pins, plates or wires in order to stabilize the bone. These types of injuries are very serious and often lead to a great deal of pain and discomfort as well as unsightly scarring.
Traumatic brain injuries – It is all too common for a pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle to sustain a traumatic brain injury due to the person’s head striking the hood or windshield of the vehicle. Often times, pedestrians who are struck by cars are thrown violently to the ground wherein their heads impact the roadway, crosswalk, curb or other hard surfaces.
Back, Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries – Many neck, back and spinal cord injuries are sustained by victims of pedestrian accidents. People suffering from these types of injuries can have persistent, unbearable pain, loss of nerve function and may even be partially or fully paralyzed. Suffering a serious back or spinal cord injury can be a life-changing event which requires expensive medical care and months or even years of physical therapy.
Under California law, individuals who are victims of pedestrian accidents which result in injuries have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. Additionally, family members are allowed to seek compensation for the loss of their loved ones by filing wrongful death lawsuits. It is important for pedestrian accident victims to obtain the services of California personal injury attorneys to ensure that justice is obtained and to make sure that the responsible parties held accountable for the injuries sustained.
Pedestrians Causing Accidents
Most of us realize the dangers associated with motor vehicle drivers who are distracted and the accidents and injuries they cause. Nowadays, more attention is being focused on a new danger which is distracted pedestrians. Today, with so much technology at our fingertips, it is not only drivers who are seemingly always using their cell phones, music players and tablets. Pedestrians are also using this technology while out and about. Many pedestrians who are enjoying the outdoors while walking or jogging, choose to listen to music or talk on their cellphones to pass the time or to block out the noise of traffic.
Distracted pedestrians are now routinely walking into busy intersections, forcing vehicles to swerve or slam on their brakes. Many pedestrians are being struck by motor vehicles due to this lack of attentiveness. Numerous state lawmakers are planning to propose new measures to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries posed by pedestrians not paying attention when out and about. While there is not yet enough data available to identify the extent of the distracted pedestrian problem, it is becoming increasingly clear that there’s an issue that presents a significant safety risk.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 1100 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms in the US during 2011 for injuries suffered while walking and using mobile devices. Fast forward to 2014 and that number is surely much larger as the use of mobile technology is growing at astonishing rates. A motor vehicle operator has the right to file a personal injury claim against a pedestrian if he/she has been been injured in an accident that was the fault of the said pedestrian.
Increasingly High Risk of Pedestrian Accidents in San Francisco and other Parts of California
As Americans as are trying to improve their health, more people are choosing to walk to work or when out shopping instead of driving their vehicles. A stroll through your beautiful California town or city should be pleasant and peaceful and a great alternative to the hassles of fighting traffic and searching for parking. One unfortunate consequence of this great new trend to head out on foot is that pedestrians are more likely to be hit by vehicles while out and about.
There is no denying that the human body is remarkable but it is definitely no match for the imposing size, strength and power of a moving vehicle. Most often, when a pedestrian is struck by a car, truck, SUV or motorcycle, the injuries suffered are devastating. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident wherein you suffered serious injuries, contact the team at Hogan Injury. We are fully committed to helping individuals and their families whose lives have been changed by motor vehicle versus pedestrian accidents.
While many victims of these types of accidents are tempted to try to resolve their cases alone, we strongly encourage you to use the services of an experienced attorney with a track record for success. This will give you the best chances of obtaining the financial recovery you need to put the pieces of your life back together again. Our goal is to resolve cases efficiently and to ensure that our clients receive the monetary compensation that need in order to fully recover from what has happened. If you have any questions about your case or how we can help you, please contact us at your earliest convenience as we’re always happy to answer your questions.